How to install CentOS Stream on a PC

Red Hat’s announcement of a CentOS “change of focus” may have sent some users looking for alternatives, but some decided to stick with CentOS as it transitioned to CentOS Stream. If you are one of them, the installation process should be familiar to you.

Here’s how to install CentOS Stream on your PC or laptop.

What is CentOS Stream?

With CentOS Stream, Red Hat shifted the position of CentOS from a free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to an upstream project between Fedora and the more forward-thinking RHEL. This means that CentOS Stream is actually ahead of RHEL.

Although it may seem that CentOS Stream is a distro for development, mainstream CentOS users have found it perfectly usable in production. Facebook currently runs its servers on CentOS Stream.

What do you need to run CentOS Stream?

The bare minimum you need to run CentOS Stream is 10 GB of disk space, but that’s only for a simple system without even a GUI.

For everyday use, you will need more space. If you’re using a desktop, 2 GB is the absolute minimum for the default GNOME desktop. More RAM would be even better. In real use, 4 GB would be the real minimum. More demanding uses like developing or editing images will likely require at least 8 GB.

To download: CentOS feeds

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How to Install CentOS Stream

Although the project may have been revamped, installing CentOS Stream is fortunately quite similar to previous versions of CentOS, as well as other Red Hat-derived distributions.

You download the installation image, extract it to your installation media of choice, and then boot your system using the media.

You will be faced with the graphics menu. The first thing to do is click on the network button to configure your connection. Otherwise, you won’t be able to download anything.

Next, configure your time zone. This computer is in the Pacific time zone, so that’s what we’re going to select.

Now you need to set up your accounts. You can set a root password, but setting up a regular user with administrative privileges is even better since you only have to remember one password.


Select your hard drive and partition scheme. Like many modern Linux distributions, you can accept a guided partition or use a custom partition scheme.

Select and install the desired software. You have several choices for the type of system you want to install. You can install a graphical server, basic server, workstation environment, or even a custom environment.

For this example, we’ll be using a workstation environment, so click the “Workplace“. On the right side, you will have the option to select additional software packages for your system.

Since the default installation, even for a desktop system, installs minimal software, you will want to select other options. You’ll probably need GNOME applications, Internet applications, and possibly graphical administration tools, depending on how comfortable you are with the command line.


The other options are specialized. If you’re a programmer, you’ll probably want to install the developer tools.

Now that everything is configured, you can start the installation. Click “Start installationand you’ll be treated to the traditional progress bar. You can wait for it to make its way across the screen, or you can get up to grab a drink, tidy up, or do whatever else you need to do to pass the time.

Depending on the type of system you have chosen, the installer may take some time to retrieve the packages and install them.

When you are finally done with the installation, you can now boot your new CentOS Stream system.

CentOS Stream First Boot

When you start for the first time, the system prompts you to accept the license agreement before you can use the system. Just click on the button and accept it, then you will be on your way.

You will now see the login screen with the user you created earlier. Select the username and enter the password, and now GNOME will start.

On first run, the system will ask you to choose your language and keyboard settings, choose whether you want to enable location services, as well as connect any online accounts you may have.

Package management in CentOS Stream

Even though it looks like you have installed the whole system, no Linux system seems to be complete, and that includes CentOS Stream. There are always a few programs you want to install. Fortunately, it’s easy to add new software to the system.

The first is through the software application. This provides an “app store” graphical experience. It’s a good option on the desktop if you want to browse. It’s very intuitive. Just browse the categories and click on the program you want, and you can just install it.


The other way to install new software is to use the DNF package manager. It is the standard command-line package management tool in the Red Hat family of Linux distributions. It’s easy to use.

To install a new package, just use “dnf install”. For example, to install the Vim text editor:

sudo dnf install vim

DNF not only installs packages, but also keeps the system up to date. It is important to do this because many packages contain security updates. This goes double for networking software on modern systems. It is also simple to update the system with DNF. Just use the “update” option:

sudo dnf update

DNF will automatically update its list of packages and upgrade all packages installed on the system that have updates.

If you just want to see how many updates are available, use the “check-update” option:

sudo dnf check-update

You may be wondering whether to use Software or DNF to install new software. It depends on your taste and how comfortable you are with the command line. The Software GUI application uses DNF in the background to install packages. If you don’t know what you want and want to browse, this is a good option.

If you prefer to use the command line and know exactly what you want to install, DNF is a good bet. DNF also lists components and libraries that you might want to install, but if another program needs them, they will be installed automatically.

You can now install CentOS Stream

With Red Hat’s changes to CentOS, if you want to stay the course, installing CentOS Stream is simple. Either way, installing the software and updating it is easy with CentOS.

If the changes to CentOS have you looking for alternatives, read on for more CentOS alternatives that are still based on Red Hat.


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